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The Guardian
7. The eternal forest

She regained consciousness where there were no sounds and smells, save their own. She felt no ceiling; the polished mirror-like walls were uprising endlessly. The floor was polished, too; it was warm here and she felt her stolen powers were returning quickly.

She sat up and waited for a moment; the sensation of returning energy was marvellous and pleasant. The tiredness washed away; then she saw Nlaminer collapsed beside her and studied him carefully.

He had lost more energy than a normal being could afford to lose; his mind and body were one step away from death. She felt, though, that the main danger had been overcome. So she fed him all the energy she could spare... And then sat, in peace and quiet, enjoying life.

It was wondrous, to be alive.

She felt no contact with the Realm. This place was unusual. She had no idea how Nlaminer had gotten them there. His amulet, still in his hand, glowed and emanated warmth and small light - less than a candle, but enough to see what was around. She took it from his hand and began studying the surroundings.

They were at was a bottom of a well, with thirty-six polished mirror walls, forming a regular polygon. A sphere, two feet in diameter, floated in the middle of the polygon, six feet above the floor. Rhissa tried to reach it but couldn't; the interior of the sphere was dark and impenetrable. Nevertheless she felt tremendous energy hidden in that object; she decided not to touch it. They had problems enough.

She waited for several hours, without trying to investigate walls, floor or sphere more closely, when suddenly one of the walls became transparent and a miraculous landscape opened behind it.

She looked at the amulet; its gems were shining in constant pattern now; she remembered the pattern and ventured to throw some small thing through the wall.

It landed on the other side. Sooner or later, she decided, they would have to experiment going through one of the walls. She felt that the other side would be suitable to live in; and she quickly dragged Nlaminer and all their inventory through the portal. Soon after they were on the other side, the black hole in the air vanished. The gems ceased to glow simultaneously.

The forest, endless and peaceful, surrounded all land around them. The hills, ravines and valleys made a freakish landscape, but here all was full of peace and calmness, the things they both missed so much.

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-- mecenat --

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